How to know when it’s time to upgrade your nonprofit accounting software and make your lives easier and your organization more transparent and sustainable.
Benefits of Using Nonprofit Accounting Software
It happens every week. You need a report your current accounting system can’t generate, so you do a data dump to a spreadsheet to create the report you need. Next month your organization receives a new grant and you start the process all over again. Then year end rolls around and you need to prepare for your annual nonprofit audit, complete your grant reports, apply for new grants and complete next year’s budget. So you and your staff spend countless hours creating and updating spreadsheets that need to be updated the next day, since they are not synced with your accounting system.
Why It’s Time to Upgrade
Most nonprofit organizations have accepted this has the normal way to manage their fiscal responsibilities, because they’ve been doing that forever. And their Board tells them to continue to use their off-the-shelf accounting software, such as Quickbooks for Nonprofits, because it works for their for profit business. What the Board and your fiscal management staff don’t realize is how much time and money are wasted on software systems that are not designed for nonprofit organizations. These are signs your nonprofit needs to upgrade to a true nonprofit accounting system.
If this sounds like your day to day work scenario, it’s time to seriously consider upgrading to a system designed for nonprofit accounting software to make your lives easier and make your organization more transparent and sustainable.
4 Steps to Evaluate Nonprofit Accounting Software
Here are the steps for selecting the right nonprofit accounting software solution for your nonprofit:
- Are you ready for an upgrade? If your accounting software is not providing management with timely, useful financial information that measures each of your program’s resources and tracks your grant activity, then you need to consider an upgrade to accounting software that provides more reliable reporting.
- Define your core requirements: As a nonprofit, your financial management system must incorporate data from different sources, including donor management, payroll and client management. It is important to define the functional requirements that you will need, especially the new system’s ability to support your organization’s unique chart of accounts and reporting requirements and provide valuable information to management.
- Define your technical requirements: The next step is determining the delivery method for your new system: on-premise, hosted or cloud-based. With an on-premise installation you will be responsible for installing, maintaining and upgrading your system on your computers, along with backing up of your data, which will incur extra expenses for IT consulting. With a hosted solution, you are connected to outside servers that house traditional Windows based applications that typically don’t have access to new data sharing capabilities using APIs. A cloud solution does not require any software to be installed on your computers and all updates, upgrades and backups are all handled by the vendor. Plus, a cloud solution allows you to access your programs and data anywhere, on any device that has an internet connection.
- Evaluate your options: Now that you have decided to make the change, your evaluation process should include your budget for a new system, including software licensing fees, training and conversion, a list of must have functionality and would like to have functionality, getting demonstrations of the software and checking references provided by the vendor.
When you are ready to make the change to new accounting software, check out Araize’s FastFund Accounting. The only cloud-based software as a service that seamlessly integrates nonprofit fund accounting, fundraising CRM and payroll in a single system.
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